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30 Jan, 2019 18:30

'Harsh': UFC chief Dana White 'surprised' by extent of Khabib fine & suspension

'Harsh': UFC chief Dana White 'surprised' by extent of Khabib fine & suspension

UFC boss Dana White says the Nevada State Athletic Commission was "a little harsh" on Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was slapped with a nine-month suspension and $500,000 fine for the brawl that followed his victory over Conor McGregor.

UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov was issued with the fine and suspension by the NSAC at a hearing in Las Vegas on Thursday, following the October fracas which was started by the Russian fighter leaping over the cage to attack members of McGregor's team following his fourth-round submission victory over the Irishman.

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Nurmagomedov is reportedly furious at the extent of the punishment, despite admitting in a recent public Q&A in Australia that he was expecting to be suspended for a period of between nine months to a year. 

His teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were both handed 12-month suspensions for entering the cage after the bout and attempting to attack McGregor, and it appears that much of Khabib's fury is related to their punishments. 

Speaking on Tuesday, promotion president Dana White seemed to share Khabib's surprise at the extent of the punishments. 

"I was obviously surprised by how much they put on Khabib," said White to ESPN's SportsCenter.

"He got half a million dollars and six months if he does some PSAs (public service announcements). What he did was wrong, but he jumped out. We had the whole thing contained in seconds. I don't know. It was a little harsh, in my opinion."

The comments from White come in stark contrast to his words immediately following the October fight, in which he said he was "disgusted and sick." 

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At that time, White also predicted that the NSAC would be within their rights to dole out heavy punishments to all involved and even openly wondered if Khabib and his team would ever be granted a visa to return to the United States - though his stance appears to have softened since then.

"Here's the thing: it's a fight. At the end of the day, it's a fight. Sometimes you come across people that don't like each other and there's a lot of bad blood," he said. 

"This is what we do. This is the fight business. These guys [Nevada Athletic Commission] are talking about fighters saying mean things to each other and all this other stuff."

McGregor, meanwhile, escaped with a $50,000 fine and six-month ban for his role in the fracas.